Most people know Carnival as the merrymaking and festivities that take place in many Roman Catholic countries in the last days before Lent. But unless you follow the austere tradition of Lent, during which Catholics abstain from eating meat for 40 days, Carnival may mean very little to you.
In recent years, however, more and more people are taking winter vacations. And it is no coincidence that more travelers are visiting those countries that celebrate Carnival, which begins around January 6 (Epiphany) in some countries and continues through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The high spirit of frivolity and the abundance of amusements engulf visitors in revelry; splendid costumed affairs, colorful parades and religious processions add to the enjoyment.
Trinidad, Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans draw huge crowds of tourists who are awed by fabulous Carnival floats and the gala street dancing. In New Orleans, Carnival is called Mardi Gras, meaning Fat Tuesday. This label originated from the At home custom of using up all the fats before Lent.
Between our covers are pages of information on Carnival. For the reader, we share our findings for your edification. For the traveler, I we hope to inspire you to search for “new” lands. And, for the epicure, there are dishes that will delight your palate.